There’s something about Broadway

There’s something about Broadway

When I was 7, my mother took me to watch the Lion King. It was probably the most awe-inspiring moment of my childhood. I had been to Disneyland, but that was nothing compared to what I felt during Lion King. My mother was an aspiring actress and I literally grew up watching Broadway musicals the way other children watched cartoons. And that has made me the person I am.   There are people who like Broadway- they will occasionally watch plays, or musicals, if they find the cast appealing, or if the play has been deemed amazing. And then, there are people who watch every single play or musical that graces these stages. To those, Broadway is not a form of entertainment, it is a calling.   I’ve always felt that there is something almost religious about my love for Broadway. As I said, my mom was an aspiring actress. She wanted to me to take to acting as well. But when you are born with a face that is as straight as cardboard, that is not an option. But I loved the stage. I loved the sets, the lights, the moment the spotlight came on. It was when I was watching Julie Andrews play Victoria Grant in Victor/Victoria that I realized that I will not give up the stage just because I could not act. So, what? I still knew how to observe, and I could write compellingly.   Those who can’t act, write about acting. And I chose to do that. I decided to spread my knowledge of the stage, and the plays that are being put up on them, so that I can get more people to love what I cherish so. I decided that I would make Broadway more accessible- nobody should be left out of the magic. That’s what drives me, to date....

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About me

About me

For as long as I can remember, I have been a theater lover. My mom was an aspiring actress and she did everything she could to make me become an actor myself. Alas, some dreams never come true. I did share her passion for this beautiful and noble vocation, but I chose to be the spectator; the person in the audience who sighs when the singer hits a beautiful note or scoffs when an actor forgets his line on the stage.     I have written about my experiences with theater before. A few months back, I realized that it was time for me to publicly announce my love for Broadway and absolutely everything related to it. Broadway is the Promised Land for theater lovers- actors and audience alike. It does not just see some of the biggest names in the industry, it also sees some of the best talent. I love some of the more underrated and subdued plays being put up on Broadway just as I love my high-budget extravaganzas (even though I believe the former deserves much more acclaim than it actually does get).   So, welcome to my world, where I ramble on about Broadway and it’s wonderful shows....

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A Raisin in the Sun is back with a bang

A Raisin in the Sun is one of the plays making a long awaited return to Broadway this year. Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 classic has adapted for the theater many times, and it has always boasted of a star-studded cast. Sidney Poitier, Sean Combs, etc are some of the famous names that have acted in this poignant family drama. Raisin in the Sun returned to Broadway on the 3rd of April, starring none other than Denzel Washington. The play is an unabashed chronicle of a mid-century black family in America. It’s also a family portrait like no other. The Younger family resides in Chicago, with three generations of Youngers residing under the same, crumbling roof. Grandfather Younger dies, leaving his wife, Lena, with an insurance check the family can certainly use. But how do three whole generations dream of using the money they have always wanted?   The plot is simple and straightforward, and the cast brings the story to life. Like all families, the Younger family members relate to each other in a specific way; a way that is entirely too tangible on stage. LeTanya Richardson Jackson’s portrayal of Lena is probably one of the best- she handles her role as the matriarch of the family effortlessly. Sophie Okenodo does a brilliant job of portraying Ruth’s inner anguish and emotion, hidden under a tough exterior. Washington plays the character of Walter Lee with effortless charm and dedication.       The drama’s rather brisk in it’s pace, and the characters are extremely well developed. The characters are so strong, you find yourself empathizing with them, even when they are at their best. If you were looking for something simple, yet strong to watch this season, A Raisin in the Sun is your best bet....

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Of Mice and Men- Emotional and Well Performed

It’s never easy adapting a literary classic for the stage. It’s more difficult to portray beloved literary characters in a way that would still be emotional for those who have read the book. Of Mice and Men, which opened on the 19th of March, has succeeded on both the fronts. It’s a wonderful stage adaptation of one of the best American novels of all times, and  Chris O’Dowd and James Franco manage to tug heartstrings with no effort at all.   Franco and O’Dowd made their Broadway debut as George Milton and Lennie Small in the Broadway adaptation of John Steinbeck’s popular novel. The play also stars Leighton Meester, of Gossip Girls fame, as Curly, the flirtatious wife who brings about Lennie’s downfall. Anna Shapiro also does a wonderful job as the director.   The best part about Of Mice and Men is the fact that it’s a sum of parts. It works because it gets all the little things right. The actors hit it right on the nail, the direction is simply effortless, and the sets are terribly authentic. Looking at the set, you will certainly believe that you are living during the Great Depression, right next to the ranch.   Chris O’Dowd is certainly the star of the show. From the moment he steps on the stage, he IS  Lennie. He manages to do his part as the big, clumsy, lovable idiot wonderfully. Franco’s ability to showcase George’s emotional turmoil regarding Lennie is heart wrenching. It’s no surprise that the show did so well in the box office- opening at $688,832. The cast and crew of the play were pleasantly surprised about the strong opening- I’m most certainly not. It is one of the strongest plays of the season, and hopefully, will get the recognition it deserves during the Tony nominations....

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If/Then- Watch it for Idina

It’s hard to say how well If/Then would have done, if Idina Menzel had not been a part of the cast. Menzel’s return to Broadway, after a whole decade, was highly speculated. Her fans are certainly going to be pleased about her return, and her performance in the musical. It seems like a wonderful follow up to the “Let It Go” craze, that just does not die down. But, here’s the million dollar question- what if Menzel was not in If/Then?   This might seem too harsh, but If/Then would not be a show worthy of Broadway if it had not been for it’s star cast. The characters are rather insipid and colorless, and they fail to make up for the lack of a plot. A musical about destiny, choices and possibilities can be without a plot- as long as the characters are strong enough to carry the burden on their backs. However, this musical fails on both the fronts.   Menzel shines as the middle aged urban planner who cannot decide whether strategy is better than impulse. Broadway is all about showcasing dilemmas and the pain of choices, but the choices depicted in the musical are not nearly emotionally charged enough to make an impact on the audience.     Tom Kitt, who scored the music, has done a wonderful job. Brian Yorkey and Michael Greif, who handled the story and direction, respectively, could have certainly done a better job. The stage setting was done beautifully- it was a wonderful interpretation of New York’s urban landscape.   Bottom line? If you have been a devoted Wicked fan all your life, go watch If/Then. It’s wonderful seeing Menzel back on stage. If you are still not convinced, just watch Wicked and swoon over Menzel’s beautiful performance....

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